Team Ladybirds (ITA): "This pandemic will not stop us!"


Safety first... with style! (Credits: Cristina Pastorelli, Team Ladybirds Head Coach)

On March 9, 2020, the rinks closed due to COVID-19 in Italy, to limit the spread of the virus and thus protect the health of the population. What about the evolution of the situation of Team Ladybirds in Milan?

After stopping from training on-ice from March to the end of May, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, for three months, the coaches used the "Zoom" application, which allows them to organise videoconferences. Thus, the skaters could begin to train together virtually, by following dance lessons, physical preparation but also mental.

Team Ladybirds started training on-ice again in June, focusing on skating skills to prepare for the upcoming 2020/2021 season.  To be sure the Covid would not spread before returning to train all athletes and coaches had to test negative for the virus.

On the ice, the rules were pretty simple and common sense: wear a mask as much as possible, avoid close contact with others and wash the hands every time touching something. The first training months were difficult for the athletes, not being able to hold and skate together like they were able to in the past. But even the youngest ones showed great love for the sport, being happy just to be able to train with their teammates and a strong sense of responsibility following the rules, even the most strict ones.  

After the summer, the world thought the virus was subdued
Team Ladybirds Basic Novice (Credits: Cristina Pastorelli, Team Ladybirds Head Coach)

From October the teams were allowed to train together normally, to enforce virus control, in addition to the test before the first the training session, Team Ladybirds has acquired rapid tests and there is a doctor always following the team.

Athletes have to keep FFP-2 masks on all the time except for warming up, off-ice training and of course on the ice, while coaches have to wear them always. There is a hand sanitizer station at the rink entry and in every corner, temperature measurement is mandatory before entering the rink. The changing rooms could not be used for safety reason. The athletes have to be as ready as possible whenever they come to the rink for training. 

Resilience and passion are the keys
Team Ladybirds Junior A (Credits: Cristina Pastorelli, Team Ladybirds Head Coach)

Even without the best conditions and uncertainty due to COVID-19, this year Team Ladybirds will be able to present athletes in seven categories to competitions: Juvenile, Basic Novice, Advanced Novice, Junior A, Junior B, Adult and Masters.

In particular, the Junior A team is a new formation composed of young athletes that are willing to work hard to reach the top levels in this category.

All athletes focused on improving their skating skills, interpretation and musicality under the expert guidance of the head coach Cristina Pastorelli, striving to gain the power and flow typical of this level. During the season, except the ice training (four times a week), this Junior team do ballet, choreography, physical training and mental preparation.

The main goal of this new team is the National Championship scheduled at the end of February, hopefully, there will not be issues due to Covid.

As the girls are very passionate about the sport, all shared their motivation on the Instagram page of Ladybirds Team to help other teams stay positive during these dire times.

All seven teams continue to work on this season’s programs along with a particular focus of up-skilling and development that has become a priority for the over 70 skaters.

Focus on competitions: "Be they real or virtual, we are ready"
Team Ladybirds Basic Novice, Pivoting Block (Credits: Cristina Pastorelli, Team Ladybirds Head Coach)

As the health checks are constant and through, Basic and Advanced Novice teams were able to train at their best to prepare for the upcoming competitions.

Virtual events are still news for many skaters around the world, but Team Ladybirds agrees with the president of the ISU technical committee Philippe Maitrot: "If it has to be virtual, let’s do it!".

Synchro is a beautiful sport, sadly not renown as we would like it to be, and even if the atmosphere of real competition is different, these virtual events may be a way to help spread our presence and passion to the world.  

All the athletes are excited to try this new experience and ready to give their best and show all the hard work in this challenging year.

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A little help from technology and creativity
Team Ladybirds Advanced Novice (Credits: Cristina Pastorelli, Team Ladybirds Head Coach)

With the pandemic, no public is allowed during the training session, competitions or even exhibitions, so the head coach organized a remote system to transmit them to the parents and friends watching and cheering from home.

Even if it is not the same thing as having in presence support, the girls are happy to show their hard work results to the people who support them constantly.